You had a Bootstrapping idea to start a business and to sell into the Public Sector via Tendering, so you took the step of leaving safe, paid employment to become an Entrepreneur. So, you’re now building your own business but with your own money, which means you are a Bootstrapper building a viable business with a great business model.
But is it possible to Bootstrap your business and Tender for Public Sector Contracts? Firstly, though what is Bootstrapping? Bootstrapping is starting and running a business from the income you create by selling your products or services without external investment.
That’s it simply. Not unsurprisingly it’s the simplest form of start-up and the most common. Not just in the UK but probably the world. But that’s much different from saying ‘could you bootstrap the Tendering space’, is that possible? The reason we ask is because we see more clients coming to us who just say I want to win ‘X’ contract or ‘Y’ contract.
They have no idea about tendering, no previous experience, not necessarily been self-employed previously, yet they all have one high level principle in common. Apart from being Entrepreneurs, they have sector competence in their ideas for creating their new business.
Bootstrapping is tough, especially if it means putting every pound you make back into the business instead of into your purse or wallet. So other than taking out a second mortgage on your house, maxing out the credit cards, and eating air every night, what can you do to get your idea to the next level all on your own and into the Public Sector Tendering space?
We believe, that if you have the right product at the right level then it is plausible, possible even, to bootstrap a contract. That could give you some interim sales to deliver a small contract for your local council or other public sector body. So how and why do we come to that conclusion?
Things have changed and continue to change in the procurement world. the Public Sector in particular is now very much more open to doing business with SME’s, and there is a change of thought as to how smaller, yet often more productive and responsive businesses, can move into either supply chains or to supply direct.
Buy hey, there is risk on both sides. So, one of the things needed is to reduce the risk to buyers to the lowest possible level you can. We are going to look at strategies for doing that too. But let’s accept at this point that it IS possible to bootstrap your business into the Tendering space.
So how do we do it? One thing for certain is that we can’t get it all done in one post. So, we thought we would drip feed it a few pieces at a time for you. But firstly lets look at the main things you need to do. We’ll expand on them over the coming set of posts.
Firstly, you need to have an efficient, viable and sustainable business model. Without this you’re certainly not going to be able to manage to convince others about the viability of your business. More importantly that they should take your services or buy your products.
But we also need to ensure that we have built some authenticity around our business. How many times have you heard a pitch from a business and you almost immediately have doubts that the service is either viable or authentic?
We’ve seen and heard it many times I could name but two just this year. So what you say. Well, every business needs to pin down “why we do what we do.” That’s the company’s North Star if you like, guiding every aspect from marketing to customer management to product development and sales.
‘A strong sense of purpose drives growth and profitability’.
In order to achieve sustainable success, companies must repeatedly re-examine their sense of purpose. We need authentic and inspiring purposes which allows for:
- A constant and consistent sense of focus.
- A strong emotional engagement both within the business and with its customers and partners.
- Continuous and pragmatic development and innovation of products and services.
Sales and marketing experts often talk about “unique selling propositions,” or “USP”. USP is defined as the “factor presented by a seller that one product or service is different from another”. In other words it’s what makes us different from the competition.
A company’s authentic purpose gives rise to its USP. When a business has a clear vision, it’s easier to create products and services of value. Revlon founder Charles Revson, for instance, always used to say that he sold hope, not makeup.
The Bootstrap journey has to develop a strong business that could sell its services, and an authentic business that can convince a client or customer to buy.
In the next post, we look at the issues that will help to bootstrap your way to that next contract win. This will include:
- Creating the right profile for your business
- Ensuring you have technical expertise that buyers need and want to buy
- That your products or services are fit for purpose and are sustainable over time
- That you have the capacity in the business to deliver a service not just once but many times
- That you have created sufficient value in the business to offer your services that are both competitive and value driven
- That the buyer can see not just the cost but also the VALUE and BENEFITS of your offer.
Previously we posted as to how you can create value by spending the right time doing the right things for you tendering, its as every bit true for mature businesses as it should also be for bootstrappers.
We welcome feedback and interaction. As always, if you are looking for more help and support? do get in touch for a chat about the problems and issues you are facing in your bidding and tendering.